The costs of not having an intelligent TMS

Learn why an intelligent TMS is crucial for efficient supply chain management.

Truckers and carriers alike are seeing the value in a TMS. But they may still not be aware of the need for an intelligent TMS.

The 1990s were full of great evolution in manufacturing and supply chain. Many of the tools in use today came from this time of innovation, including the TMS (transportation management system).

The TMS has flourished as one of the most helpful solutions in supply chain management. A TMS connects to all your other systems and speeds up time-consuming manual tasks to serve as a one-stop shop for fleet asset management.

Sadly, many of the TMS solutions offered today are still stuck in the ’90s. That’s why users should make sure they choose not just another TMS—but an intelligent TMS.

What is an intelligent TMS?

Many solutions passing as a TMS offer little more than visualization.

But visualization is not enough.

An intelligent TMS uses augmented intelligence (artificial intelligence mixed with human decision making) to make day-to-day operations run more smoothly.

The need for an intelligent TMS

While the TMS was first built for big operations, advancements have helped this powerful tool become a great solution for small to mid-size companies as well. The ongoing supply chain digital transformation means companies need to adopt new technologies to stay competitive, as supported by an Arc Advisory Group report stating that 37.5% of TMS users improved freight savings by more than 10%. A study by Escalent found that 44% of fleet decision-makers are actively shopping for telematics solutions.

How an intelligent TMS will benefit your company

An intelligent TMS will help with changing needs, including:

  • Increasing challenges of supply chain operations, especially after COVID-19.
  • Growing customer demands.
  • Custom offerings for each customer.
  • Lack of resources.
  • Growing need for efficiency and visibility.
  • Workplace flexibility, such as giving dispatchers the options to dispatch trucks from home.

While companies waiting to adopt an intelligent TMS are falling behind by doing things manually, they’re also hurting their bottom line and frustrating managers, employees, and customers.

What are the costs of NOT having an intelligent TMS?

Below are some of the most crucial ways carriers fall behind when operating without an intelligent TMS.

Inefficient planning

20-35% of truck miles in the US are driven empty. While trucks are still moving and deliveries are being made, the situation could be better. Companies can be more efficient and cut deadhead trucking. And customers and employees can always be happier.

Ever changing business scenarios are adding pressure on planners, owners, and stakeholders. When unaware of the constraints and changes, planners must react rather than plan ahead. These challenges create a big hole in net profits.


Visibility is the biggest gap in logistics.

Imagine a carrier has a trip going from Dallas to Tennessee. If they’re unaware of the precise ETA, fuel info, driver ELD information, and payment schedule, the carrier cannot plan the next trip from Tennessee and onwards. However, with an intelligent TMS, that same carrier can plan multiple trips also while increasing asset usage as well as improving service. An intelligent TMS makes shipment visibility a breeze.


Factors limiting efficiency include:

  • Idle trucks.
  • Unnecessary documentation.
  • Changing lane rates.
  • Unavailable drivers.
  • Fluctuating capacities.

Any one of these issues can create plenty headache and extra work. Manual decision making cuts into the work that really matters and eats into productivity.

Untapped potential

Why settle for less when the same resources can harness better profit? Fleets are missing opportunities through deadhead miles, poor routing, and poor time management. There’s plenty opportunity to improve operations and promote growth.

Intangible losses

Work hours spent on fruitless decisions are frustrating. Drivers not getting favorable routes and hours leads to friction and frustration. Trust and reliability issues with stakeholders can lead to loss of business.

These are only a few examples of intangible losses, which eventually lead to lost revenue.

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